INDIANAPOLIS -- Barry University rowing team's Varsity 8 won the NCAA Division II Championships Repechage Saturday in a photo finish.
The No. 4-ranked Buccaneers trailed No. 3 Western Washington through nearly the entire 2,000-meter race before making a significant push over the final 500 meters on the Eagle Creek Reservoir course to win by less than a tenth of a second. Barry's winning time of 7:19.136 earned the Bucs the right to race for the NCAA Championship at 9:50 a.m. Sunday in the Grand Final.
Western Washington finished in 7:19.233, and will also compete for the national title in the 8 with No. 1 Nova Southeastern and No. 2 Humboldt State.
Barry's crew of coxswain Angela Dasch, stroke Kristina Boncheva, Beth Desmond, Paola Girotto, Jelena Momirov, Luna Ugrenovic, Anais Foppoli, Mandy Carper and bow Ellie Hartman overcame over a three-second differential in the last 500 meters to clip the Vikings at the finish line. At the 1,500-meter mark, Western Washington led with a split of 5:25.916. Barry had reached the final stage of the race in 5:29.149. But the Bucs' surge in stroke efficiency was clearly evident in the peak of the race's climatic finish.
It was the kind of racing that defines rowing at its best.
No. 5 Mercyhurst finished third in 7:28.419, and Central Oklahoma fourth in 7:36.520.